Hey, everybody. I can't even tell you how much we appreciate all the good wishes and kind thoughts shared with us since I posted last. ~hugs all around~ We're having such a different kind of summer this year that we've decided to close for the entire month of August to catch up, reorganize and rest. The website usually remains functional while we're closed, but this time we're closing the website to give our IT people a chance to do site upgrades.
For the entire month of August, our website will be shut down with just a little closed sign on the door, not accepting orders. We'll ship all the orders that come in by midnight, July 31st, during the first week of August, then we'll break down our equipment for cleaning and maintenance, so there will be no ring making from that time until we re-open the first week of September.
Freshly organized and without the usual backlog of orders to catch up when we return, our shipping schedule will be nice and speedy from the jump, so that'll be a good time to order. Everything you need before September, though, needs to be ordered this month (July) so we can get it to you before we close. Stock items can be ordered until the very end of the month but the deadline for ordering make to order (MTO) rings is Monday, July 18th. (MTO rings include all exotic metals and all wire shapes other than round.) And that deadline's just a week away as I write this, so think fast... and have a beautiful summer.
This is my favorite photo of Gary's parents, taken in '95. They're wonderful people, great parents and surely the best in-laws anyone's ever had. Gary's dad passed away this month and left such a big hole in our lives that none of us are quite sure how to carry on without him... least of all, his wife of 60 years. Gary's spending a lot of time with his mom right now, comforting and helping her find a way forward into the next phase of her life.
For now and throughout the summer, Gary and I will be keeping a shorter than normal work week, so our order turn around time will often be a day or two longer than usual. It's easy to keep up with email no matter where we are, though, so if you'll let us know when you have a deadline to meet, we'll do our best to get our rings in your hands by the time you need them.
Spring is coming....
-- Aislyn and Gary
Update, December 23rd -- We've shipped all the pre-deadline orders, and everything we possibly could that came in later. I'm about to turn off the lights and go wrap some presents, but first I want to take a minute to thank you for another wonderful year. We just love you all so much! ~hugs all around~ We'll be back the first week of January and look forward to seeing you then.
Best wishes for every joy of the season to you and yours, from us and ours.
-- Aislyn and Gary
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It's that magical time of year once again, that time when you don't hear a peep out of us because we're so busy filling orders. :D Actually there is always at least one peep and it's this one, when we post the last day for ordering items to ship before Christmas.
For MTOs -- that's make to order rings, including all shapes other than round and all the more exotic metals -- that date is this Friday, the 11th.
For everything else, the last day to order for pre-Christmas shipping will be the following Friday, the 18th.
Keep it merry and bright, everybody!
-- Aislyn and Gary
Since almost all of our rings are made of precious metals, the prices we pay for materials fluctuate with the metals markets. In the years we've been in business, we've tried out every conceivable method for accurately syncing the price we're paying for materials to the price you're paying for our rings. The reason it's tricky is because...
In 12 years of business, and 6 incarnations of our website, this -- the brand new Shop by Weave -- is finally, finally, the shopping experience we've always wanted to offer. It's not easy to present a lot of options while keeping the page simple and intuitive but that's finally what we have. I hope you love it as much as we do.
Shop by Weave is for buying rings by the weave inch. Choose the weave you like, the size and the metal, and enter the number of inches you want to make, all on one page. The cart will show you the perfect ring size(s) and tell you how many per inch you'll need and you can add them to your cart with a keystroke. Rings for medallions are available the same way, but per medallion rather than per weave inch. The price for rings purchased through Shop by Weave is now exactly the same as for rings purchased by-the-ring so that you're truly free to use whichever method best suits you in the moment.
UM kits like the Graduated European 4-in-1 Collar and the Perfect Rings are available in their own section now and there's another section for Designer Ringsets. (You'll find all these sections in the main menu on the left side of our home page.)
Let us know what you think. :)
-- Aislyn and Gary
Every order over $25 and placed by midnight Thursday night will include the gift of a pair of these beautiful 16g platinum sterling half rounds.
In addition, the largest order placed by midnight Thursday night will include the gift of this pair of cross drilled, faceted, blue mystic topaz trillions, perfect for a pair of earrings.
Every order over $25 and placed by midnight Thursday night will include the gift of a pair of these delicious copper multistrands. The wire is 16g and there are three strands of it twisted together, so these are luxuriously weighty wee beasties.
In addition, the largest order placed by midnight Thursday night will include the gift of this pair of vertically drilled, faceted stones, dreamy blue green apatite, perfect for earrings.
Every order over $25 and placed by midnight Thursday night will include the gift of a little scoop of these wee beauties. The wire is tiny 24g, only half a millimeter wide. The ID is large for such small wire at 3.0mm, yet the rings are surprisingly strong, due to the extra...
They look like glitter but the chain is small enough to fit through some beads. ~swoon~
Every order over $25 and placed by midnight Thursday night will include the gift of one of these beautiful 14g diamond sterling rings.
In addition, the largest order placed by midnight Thursday night will include the gift of that big -- 18mm! -- beautiful drilled amethyst.
When I set out to figure out the sizes for Vipera Berus, I had no idea how easy and satisfying this weave is to learn. Of course, I've seen the weave several times, but had never tried to make it before.
Big and sexy 12g square copper rings and an equally big and sexy drilled chunk of aquamarine on the giveaway this week. ~purr~
Gorgeous 16g yellow gold filled rings and a stunning pair of blue topaz faceted briolettes on the giveaway this week.
Weighty 14g platinum sterling rings and a beautiful amethyst fan on the giveaway this week.
Tri-color goldfilled multistrand rings and monstrous yellow goldfilled multistrands on the new weekly giveaway.
We're putting together a brand new mailing list for a brand new newsletter. Are you in? :)
Vortex Medallion is the name of our version of this beautiful and much loved design by Norwegian mailler, Kenth Kutschera.
Use the arrows to navigate the step-by-step tutorial, then watch the video to see how the tricky part is done. Click the link to see the kits. Happy weaving. :)
I've been wanting to learn Elfweave for awhile now and I had some time over the holidays to sit down and get to know the weave. All the directions I found recommend sizes for making the sheet version of the weave, but I wanted to tighten that up a bit to make the single row, rope version.
To order a troy ounce of any ring size....
1) Navigate to the desired ring size
2) Scroll to the bottom of the page where it says Rings per Ozt
3) Enter that number as your quantity
The most direct path to a given ring size is to type its name in the search box like this:
16g/4.5mm rd ss
That means 16 gauge wire, 4.5 millimeter mandrel, round wire, sterling silver
We use abbreviations in our product descriptions in order to convey a lot of information in a small space. This legend spells them out.
Want to know what that ring size is good for?
1. Click on Shop-by-Weave (top of page)
2. Filter your way to the mystery ring using the left column of the page.
For example, if you have 16g/7.0mm round rings, select from the filters on the left side of the page like this:
What Makes This Ring So Perfect?
First, it's a ring. Years ago, a well known wire work author asked me to recommend weaves and ring sizes for her to make a series of finger rings to embellish with wire work for one of her books. My recommendation was that she just not do it because I couldn't make a single satisfying ring. By satisfying, I mean a ring that is comfortable, holds up well, and looks good. I could not work out a single unflawed ring design using chainmaille alone. It isn't easy, so it isn't common, which means most people have never even seen a chainmalle ring at all, much less a great one.
The final step in completing your Perfect Ring is to join the ends of the Vertebrae weave together. This tutorial will show you, step by step, how to connect the weave to itself to make a continuous loop. You'll want to get good at this so you can easily resize your Perfect Ring for a perfect fit.
According to Tronex -- The average American worker's hand or palm is approximately four inches wide. Therefore tool handles should be four inches long at least. To allow freedom of hand placement, 4 to 5 inches would be even more desirable.
We've always dreamed of a way to keep our instructions all together, something efficient to store and use, something strong and virtually impervious to damage but without sacrificing beauty or making them costly. It's taken this long but we've finally found a way to do all of that at once. It's so simple I can't believe we never thought of it before but we're thrilled to have it now. We call it....
We began seeing certain quality control issues with certain models of the Lindstroms we carried after Lindstrom moved manufacturing to another facility in another country. I'm sure they'll work out their problems and be fabulous again but since we can't just do without pliers in the meantime, I decided to look around and see what had come along since the last time I did any serious tool shopping... and that's when I fell in love with Tronex.
Do you have a design of your own that would make a wonderful kit? Would you love to be able to sell kits for your own designs on your website, at shows or classes... but rather not have to become a manufacturer to do it?
We can partner with you to make it happen. We'll make up custom ring packs to your specifications, package them beautifully, labeled with your own logo, and ship them straight to you. You add your own instructions and anything else you want to include, price them as you see fit and sell them on your website, at your shows, classes or anywhere else you like. You keep all your rights, we keep all your secrets and you are the sole source of your own kits.
Note: The following information is meant for people who are in the business, or plan to be in the business, of making and selling jewelry that utilizes maille techniques. This article consists of very specific business advice delivered quite bluntly. Personally, I much prefer the truth to anything sugar coated and I try to treat others as I want to be treated. If you're trying to get a business off the ground in a competitive industry during a tough economic period, you don't need sunshine and rainbows, you need honest, insightful business advice from people running successful businesses. I'm giving you that, but the advice of anyone who sells what he or she is advising you to buy should always be closely scrutinized. With that in mind, I'm speaking very bluntly to make it easier for you to scrutinize my points and judge them for yourself.
When closing a ring, your goal is to create tension in the metal to push the two ends of the ring against each other, ensuring the tightest possible join.
The tension you create in the metal by pushing the ends past one another will keep them pressed tightly together when you've lined them up to meet evenly. If the ends don't line up perfectly the first time, repeat the procedure in smaller increments until they do.
These are 3 ring flowers, made with diamond rings, In addition to the sizes shown in the photos, 14g/8.5mm diamond rings make gorgeous flowers. That's the same ring size we recommend for the diamond Half Persian 4-in-1 so you might already have them. You can make 12 flowers with 1 ozt.
I've never felt comfortable with the 'learn to make a bracelet', project based way of teaching. Almost all jewelry making lessons are project based, meaning you learn to make a particular thing, say a tennis bracelet, for example. Although the techniques used to make the tennis bracelet can be applied to any number of other types of projects, some of which are nothing like tennis bracelets, many people have trouble separating the design from the technique and see them as one and the same. Hence the....
"Do you know of a resource that tells you which gems/semi-precious that can/can't be tumble polished with stainless steel? I am looking for a general resource, but specifically moonstone."
I don't know of a definitive resource and I don't really see how there could be one because a lot depends on the quality of the stone. Low quality stones that have cracks and fissures or are chalky aren't as likely to take the millions of tiny pings of tumbling as well as higher quality, more solid stones. And that's just one example of a difference...
Pricing is not a one size fits all proposition because it's less about inherent value than it is perceived value. In other words, an item is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it; no more, no less. So I can tell you whether the bracelet is worth $175 to me but that doesn't do you any good because I'm not the person you hope to sell it to.
If you've read our Cleaning and Polishing page reference above, you've seen the bit about the mysterious darkness. Yellowing is the first stage of that darkness, just like it's the first stage of tarnishing. If you get yellow, brown, grey or black on your metal and you've followed the directions for rinsing the tumbler and shot, adding clean water and a lot more Dawn, given it another tumble and it still hasn't gone away, you need to do two things.
Personally, I don't think karma is a mysterious unknowable; I think it's physics. Invisible physics, unquantifiable in a laboratory setting, but physics nonetheless. Whatever energy you put into the world comes back to you and it comes back in a magnified form. It goes out, it gets big, it comes back. Emotion is a form of energy that you put out into the world all day, every day. All emotion falls under one of two headings: Love or Fear, positive or negative.
Money is not evil. It's the love of money that leads to trouble. Loving money and being willing to step on anyone to get it is definitely a bad thing. But making a healthy profit from your own hard work does not make you a soulless, unfeeling corporate vampire. Until and unless you make peace with the concept of charging what your work is actually worth, you have no chance of building a solid, profitable business that will actually support you. That's blunt, but that's the way it is.
We've covered why you might find it difficult to charge a fair price for your work and why you really need to get past those issues and do it anyway. That brings us to how. How do you know what to charge? What is a fair price? There are countless formulas that say triple the price of this and add that and it all seems rather arbitrary. In truth, there's only one formula that matters: You have to cover your costs and make a profit.
When you begin to think about starting a business, you have a vision of what it will be. That vision evolves and deepens as you ponder the idea and begin to make plans. As the idea takes shape, your enthusiasm is boundless and the possibilities are infinite.
Our beginning kits are designed to teach not only chain weaves but the technical skills required to execute those weaves at the highest level of quality. The finished products are intended to serve as examples of those chains at their very best so great care and attention to detail goes into the ring choices for each kit. The projects used to teach these skills are quite intentionally unadorned in order to keep the focus purely on the experience of learning the weave and to avoid cluttering...
An aspect ratio of 3 or less indicates a fat ring with a small inner diameter (ID), like a donut. The smaller the ID, the stronger the ring; the fatter the wire, the stronger the ring... so a small aspect ratio means a very strong ring. A large aspect ratio of 5 or more indicates a....
We highly recommend the use of a rock tumbler and stainless steel shot for cleaning and polishing jewelry. We favor that method so much that most of this page and all the photos are devoted to explaining in detail exactly how to do it, despite the fact that we don't sell tumblers or any supplies for them. We hope you find the information helpful and delight in the relentless shine of the finished product as much as we do.
If you've ever polished the family silver, you've had your introduction to cleaning sterling by means of chemical compounds. There are sprays and dips intended for use on jewelry, as well, but because we prefer to keep our chemical use to a minimum, we have no experience with them. These are the methods we've used.
A mixture of lemon juice and salt or white vinegar and salt is a very effective solution for cleaning copper. You might have seen half a lemon salted and used to scrub copper bottom pots. For jewelry, dissolve a tablespoon of salt in a cup of lemon juice or vinegar (measurements are fairly arbitrary and can be adjusted as you see fit) and keep the mixture in a jar with a lid. Drop the jewelry in the jar, swish it around for a moment, then remove, rinse, rub it all over with baking soda to neutralize it, then rinse it again. However mild, lemon juice and vinegar are still acids and you don't want to leave acid sitting on your jewelry. If it isn't neutralized....
Figuring out how to price your jewelry is one of the most difficult aspects of going into business and I often get questions about it. There are a lot of different formulas for that purpose floating around, but they tend to break down when applied to chainmaking because making chain is so much more labor intensive than some other types of jewelry work. When applying the same type of materials based formula that works well for bead stringing, a new chain maker might wonder, "How will I ever make any money at this?"
Just recently, while answering an email, I found those positions separating in my mind in a way they never had before. It led to a revelation in my understanding of what it really means to grow a business from an embryo to a thriving entity separate from oneself. It made me realize that you can't just wear different hats; you have to actually occupy each position separately in your mind, as well.
If Gary hadn't been out of town all the time, if I wasn't sitting alone every night feeling sorry for myself and collecting hobbies, we'd never have been in the right place at the right time for the business idea that's making all our dreams come true. However long it takes, there's always a reason.
The flower is a three ring segment of single spiral (aka a three ring mobius unit), which is the most basic unit of spiral chain. When the flowers are joined together by connecting pairs, the result is Flower Chain. When the flowers are joined together by byzantine segments, the result is Byzantine Rose.
Flower Chain spirals gently over the length of the chain so when used for earrings, it's nice to spiral the flowers one way for one earring and the other way for the other earring, so that the earrings frame the face symmetrically.
The 3-in-3 has a masculine, motorcycle chain feel that makes it a favorite with men. Like all masculine chains, it makes a woman's wrist look delicate by contrast.
3-in-3 is a simple pattern but it looks good only with perfect closures and no pringling at all. Hence, weaving 3-in-3 adds significantly and rapidly to a mailler's vital skill set.
Byzantine looks so ornate and complex that people never fail to be surprised at how easy it is to weave. It's among the most versatile of all chain weaves. There are so many ways to use it and so many variations based on it that learning Byzantine really opens up a lot of options for the projects to follow.
Such a simple combination of two weaves (Byzantine and Flower) might not normally get a weave name of its own, but this one is so lovely and elegant and neverendingly useful that it warrants a name, if only for expediency in frequent reference.
Box Chain is Byzantine with a step left out. While Byzantine's pattern is 2-2-2-Fold, Box Chain is 2-2-Fold. That little tweak completely changes the way the rings fit together, though, so Box Chain requires rings of a higher aspect ratio than Byzantine.
We teach Box Chain as a variation of Byzantine, so you must already know Byzantine for our instructions to make sense.
Barrel Weave is easy enough for a beginner and uses all the same round ring sizes as Byzantine. It's my absolute favorite weave for charm bracelets and anytime I want perfectly spaced dangles.
Venus Rising is an embellished version of our Graduated European 4-in-1 Collar. The stones are aquamarine heishi and white pearls, both from MiGem. Several people have asked for some direction on how to embellish the European 4-in-1 Collar similarly, so I thought I'd write a bit about it here. It's all headpins and eyepins and tiny little rings. I'm not positive about the ring size, but they were most likely 22g/2.25mm or 2.5mm. The wire for the headpins and eyepins is 24g because pearls have tiny....
Single Spiral is unstable, meaning it doesn't hold its shape until the ends are fixed. Weaving it with half round or half flat rings stabilizes the chain and eliminates the problem and the resulting chains are gorgeous.
These techniques are not difficult but they do require a bit of focused attention to grasp the concept and then willingness to wing it somewhat in working up your design, playing with assorted rings and seeing what looks good. This isn't a step by step sort of thing and there aren't even recommended ring sizes. That might be more freedom than a person wants early on but wonderful when your focus is on developing design skills.
If you know how to make Double Spiral Chain, these earrings are easy to put together. Simply order the rings according to inside diameter from largest to smallest. Beginning with the largest and using two rings of each size, weave Double Spiral Chain. The smallest ring pair isn't part of the spiral pattern and is used only to connect the last set of spiraled links to the earwire.
In response to several requests, I made a real life version of my wallpaper flower so I could share the specs with you. I hope you like the name. Getting the right size balance between the center ring and its spokes turned out to be surprisingly fiddly; too loose and it was floppy and didn't hold its shape, too tight and the whole flower would torque in peculiar ways. This version, though, is just right. It's tight enough to maintain its shape perfectly even when suspended but not so tight that it torques under its own tension.
Vertebrae is a single row of Kingscale, which is a sheet weave, anchored by small rings along its length on both sides. It's easy enough for a beginner.
Summer at Aphrodite's is an anklet made from 20g Barrel Weave, adorned with freshwater pearls on sterling headpins. It's closed with our large capsule magnet clasp which is particularly good for anklets. Barrel Weave makes lovely charm bracelets, as well.
Ring Knots are simply flowers, as in Flower Chain, made with a greater number of rings than the 3 used for flowers. This same pattern, made with as many rings as can be made to fit, is known as a mobius ball. Ring Knots, like these, are known as Love Knots, Celtic Knots, Danish Knots and probably many other knots, as well. There is conflicting information as to which is which and why, which makes the names seem to be interchangeable, but the most accurate name is really Ring Knot, since they are indisputably made of rings, origins notwithstanding.
Romanov can be made with byzantine segments of any gauge but you might have to play with it to find the right size bead to fit in the center. It's a bit easier if your chain isn't too snug. For your first try, I would recommend byzantine segments made of 18g/3.5mm rings, 16g/5.0 or 5.5mm connecting rings and 6mm round beads.
The basis of all chain patterns, this simple 1-1-1 pattern is technically a 2-in-1 chain (because each ring has 2 rings passing through it) but the picture that pops into another person's mind when you mention this chain is more likely to be accurate if you call this chain 1-in-1.
This design is very tight and the medallions are rigid enough to stand on edge. The flowers are so stiff they feel like coins in your hand. These elements can be used as pendants, earrings, or joined together in a chain. We recommend 2 pair of flat nose pliers for closing the square rings and 2 pair of chain nose pliers for the tight spaces and especially for connecting to the center ring. if you haven't made Wallflowers before, we recommend you start with the round ring version before tackling the squares.
Sterling silver is an alloy of at least 92.5% pure silver with no more than 7.5% something else. Our sterling (and sterling from any reputable US supplier) is made with copper as the something else. We work primarily in sterling and make rings in a wide range of sizes....
You've seen rings opened and closed using two pairs of pliers. Some people prefer to use one pair of pliers and a ring opener or jumpring tool, especially for opening a number of rings at once. The ring opener fits over the forefinger of your non-dominant hand and one side of the ring is fitted into the appropriate sized slot. While braced in this position, the....
No matter what sort of pliers you purchase, they're likely to need a little smoothing before you use them so they don't scratch your shiny rings. Run a fingertip over the inside jaws and if you feel anything scratchy, even a little bit, use a file to smooth it out. If you don't have fine files meant for steel, an old nail file will do the job. Don't get so enthusiastic when filing....